Services and Technologies
Heckman Family Dental has provided personalized dental care to thousands of families. Our patients come from near and far to experience the warm, individualized care we provide. We pride ourselves in utilizing the most modern equipment and methods available.
In order to provide nothing but the best to our patients, our office uses state-of-the-art technologies in all our procedures. These new technologies allow us to detect dental concerns at early stages, treat your dental issues with precision, and provide stunning and customized restorations. Our premium dental software system maximizes your time and our office efficiency. When you visit our office you can be confident that you are receiving the finest and most advanced in dental care.
Click the Services below for more information on each subject.
COMPREHENSIVE PREVENTATIVE CARE
Preventative care involves treatment items that maintain and evaluate your current dental health. These services include comprehensive and periodic examinations by the dentist, professional teeth cleanings by the dental hygienist, and yearly digital x rays to evaluate areas of the teeth not visible to the naked eye. Other preventative services include application of professional strength fluoride varnishes and sealants. Both these treatments help protect children and adults from dental decay or cavities.
A bridge is an ideal method to fill the space created by missing teeth. A bridge is one or more artificial teeth that are cemented into place using the real teeth on either side for support--hence the name. Bridges are a perfect option for filling the space created by a missing tooth. A bridge replaces the missing tooth both functionally and cosmetically. Bridge work is as much an art as it is an exact science. Bridge materials include gold alloys, porcelain bonded to metal alloy, or all-ceramic material made to match your natural tooth color. The choice of material depends on requirements for strength, wear, and/or esthetics.
CROWNS AND BRIDGES
Crowns and bridges are used to restore and enhance teeth that are damaged, or to take the place of missing teeth. A crown, also referred to as a cap, is used to entirely cover a damaged tooth. A crown not only strengthens a tooth, but it can dramatically improve a tooth's appearance, shape and alignment.
Crowns may be used to:
- Replace a large filling when there is little tooth structure remaining
- Protect a weak tooth from fracturing
- Restore a fractured tooth
- Attach a bridge
- Cover a dental implant
- Cover a discolored or poorly shaped tooth
- Cover a tooth that has had root canal treatment
A bridge is an ideal method to fill the space created by missing teeth. A bridge is one or more artificial teeth that are cemented into place using the real teeth on either side for support--hence the name. A bridge replaces the missing tooth both functionally and cosmetically. Bridge work is as much an art as it is an exact science. Bridge materials include gold alloys, porcelain bonded to metal alloy, or all-ceramic material made to match your natural tooth color. The choice of material depends on requirements for strength, wear, and/or esthetics.
A dental cleaning is a professional cleaning you receive from a dentist or dental hygienist. Most dental cleanings take only 25 to 30 minutes. Cleanings should be performed every six months to prevent excessive plaque buildup. Plaque left untreated can lead to unhealthy gums and tooth decay. A routine dental cleaning should include scaling, root planing and polishing.
Scaling and root planing is the process of removing plaque and tartar from all tooth surfaces with a variety of methods, depending on the amount of plaque and tartar. Dental hygienists traditionally perform scaling by hand. However, new and advanced technology has led to more modern methods such as electric scalers. This sophisticated tool allows dental cleanings to be performed more efficiently and in less time. Both electric and manual scaling methods can be combined to achieve the best results. Polishing completes the cleaning, making the surface of the teeth smooth and minimizing future plaque build-up.
DENTURES AND PARTIALS
A denture is a removable replacement for missing teeth and surrounding tissues. There are two types of dentures available, including partial and complete dentures. Partial dentures are used when some natural teeth remain, while complete dentures are used to completely replace all teeth. Dentures are made to resemble your natural teeth so there should be no noticeable change to your appearance. In fact, dentures may even improve your smile!
Complete Dentures – This restoration method is used to restore your smile and mouth function if all your teeth have been lost. The dentures are custom created to resemble natural teeth and are positioned into a patients mouth to take the place of where the natural teeth used to be. Complete dentures are removable and may require adjustments in order to create a proper fit with the gums and mouth.
Partial Dentures – A removable partial denture is a device used when one or more natural teeth still remain in the upper or lower jaw. They usually consist of replacement teeth attached to an esthetic flexible base which is held in place in the mouth.
Good oral hygiene should always be practiced since the loss of a single tooth can have major impact upon your oral health and appearance. Although dentists will use every measure to prevent tooth loss, there are still some occasions when a tooth may need to be extracted. A tooth may need to be extracted if the following occurs:
- Severe decay
- Advanced periodontal disease
- Infection or abscess
- Orthodontic correction
- Malpositioned teeth
- Fractured teeth or roots
- Impacted teeth
After careful examination and treatment, the dentist may advise to have a tooth extracted. Before a tooth is removed, the dentist will take an x-ray in order to understand the shape and position of the tooth and surrounding bone. Based on the degree of difficulty, we may refer you to a specialist called an oral surgeon. A certain amount of pain and discomfort is to be expected following an extraction, which can be minimized with a pain killer and ice packs applied to the face for 15 minutes at a time.
After a routine extraction, discomfort should lessen within three days to two weeks. If you have prolonged or severe pain, swelling, bleeding or fever, call our office immediately.
A filling is a way to restore a tooth damaged by decay back to its normal function and shape. If you have a tooth that requires a filling, the dentist will first remove the decayed tooth material, clean the affected area, and then fill the cleaned out cavity with a filling material. A filling also helps prevent further decay by closing off any cracks or spaces where bacteria can enter. There are two types of filling materials that are most commonly used; amalgam, or silver metal fillings, and composite resin, which are tooth colored. The dentist will work with you to determine which material is best for you, depending on the extent of repair, where in your mouth the filling is needed, and cost. Each of the filling materials is briefly explained below:
Amalgam (silver) fillings are a more inexpensive choice and are also well-tolerated. However, due to their dark color, they are more noticeable than porcelain or composite restorations and are not recommended for fillings in very visible areas such as front teeth.
Composite Resins are custom made to the exact color of your natural teeth, creating a more natural appearance. While white fillings may be less noticeable than other materials, they usually only last between 3 and 10 years. They may not be ideal for large fillings as they may chip or wear over time. They can also become stained from coffee, tea or tobacco.
It's estimated that more than half of U.S. adults have gingivitis. Gingivitis, in some cases, can lead to periodontitis (gum disease) and host of other health problems.
Gum disease can cause bleeding, swelling, bad breath, pain, receding gums and tooth loss. But it doesn't always stop there. You oral health is the beginning point for your whole body's health and wellness. It is imperative that we stop problems before they even start!
Gum disease causes a buildup of bacteria in deep pockets between the teeth and gums. That bacteria can transfer to your bloodstream when gums bleed, putting you at a much higher risk to develop the following health problems:
- Respiratory Disease
- Heart Disease
- Pre-Term Births
Periodontal treatment typically involves containing the infection through deep cleaning like scaling and root planing, clearing buildup at the root of the teeth. The dentist may also suggest specific toothpastes and mouth rinses. We may also prescribe antibiotics to fight infections. Surgery is required for the most severe cases.
We examine you for gum health at every 6-month check-up. If you have been experiencing any symptoms like bad breath, bleeding or tender gums, please let us know. We will decide what is the best form of treatment to restore your gums to optimum health.
A dental implant is an ideal tooth restoration for people who are missing one or more teeth for reasons like injury or periodontal disease. To begin the implant process, a metal post is surgically positioned into the jaw. This post will act as a permanent "root" for the implanted tooth. Once it is in place, the surrounding bone and tissue needs time to heal.
Implant placement requires special training, as it is a surgical procedure. Our team is highly- trained in implant placement to meet your dental needs. Implants require healthy gums and adequate bone. A patient must also be committed to excellent oral hygiene and regular dental visits, as these are critical to the long-term success of dental implants.
Please set up a consultation for this comprehensive procedure.
A dental implant is an ideal tooth restoration for people who are missing one or more teeth as a result of injury, periodontal disease, or any other reason. A dental implant is a metal post that a periodontist or oral surgeon surgically positions into the jaw. Once in place and bone surrounding the implant has had time to heal, a replacement tooth is attached to the post. While implants are typically more expensive than other methods of tooth replacement, they provide superior benefits. Implants are stronger than natural teeth and generally last 10-20 years. They are also a more favorable approach than bridgework since they do not depend on neighboring teeth for support. To receive implants, you need to have healthy gums and adequate bone to support the implant. You must also be committed to excellent oral hygiene and regular dental visits as these are critical to the long-term success of dental implants.
The Invisalign treatment consists of a series of clear, snap-on, custom fit, removable mouth trays that apply a controlled amount of force to your teeth, forcing them to shift. The system provides the same beautiful results as traditional braces, but since the trays are made of clear plastic, they are virtually invisible. In addition, because Invisalign trays are removable, they can be taken out while eating, drinking, brushing and flossing.
The Invisalign System works begins by first creating a series of trays that will each moving your teeth gradually until the end result is achieved. At the end of each two-week period, you will switch trays. Throughout the process, you will visit your dentist every two weeks to ensure treatment is progressing as planned. Once your treatment is complete, you will likely wear a clear retainer to ensure your new smile stays in place.
As with all orthodontic appliances, the cost of Invisalign varies according to the complexity of the case. Insurance policies generally cover Invisalign to the same extent that they cover traditional braces.
A variety of forms of dental sedation are used to help patients who suffer from dental anxiety or phobia. There are multiple levels of sedation to ease every level of anxiety, and IV sedation is the perfect option for patients who might otherwise avoid the dentist. IV sedation is commonly referred to as "sleep dentistry--" it will be as if you fell asleep, and you won't remember the procedure. A specific set of drugs are administered via IV for the duration of the procedure or procedures, and you will be carefully monitored to ensure your safety. Often reserved for oral surgery, IV sedation is also available to those with intense dental anxiety and phobia. It makes dentistry easy.
If you feel that IV sedation is the best option for you, set up a consultation today! We are happy to answer any of your questions.
Custom designed mouthguards and nightguards are made of flexible plastic and molded to fit the shape of your teeth. Mouthguards are recommended to protect the jaw and teeth during physical activity and sports such as boxing, football, basketball, or other activities where your mouth may get hit. In addition, these guards protect the soft tissues of your tongue, lips and cheek lining. Nightguards are also recommended for patients who clench or grind their teeth at night as a way to protect their teeth and bite.
If you have decided a guard is right for you, the dentist will take an impression of your teeth which will then be sent to a lab to make a custom fit guard for you. On average, guards last between 3 and 10 years.
NITROUS SEDATION DENTISTRY FOR DENTAL ANXIETY
Nitrous Oxide Sedation
Nitrous Oxide sedation, also known as "laughing gas" is commonly used to make treatment more comfortable. This sedation is inhaled through a mask that allows you to breathe in the medication and induces a state of relaxation while still remaining alert enough to talk. Local anesthetic will be administered in conjunction with nitrous oxide to eliminate pain. Nitrous oxide is designed to make procedures easier for nervous patients and has been effective for many years.
Oral sedation is an excellent option for patients who suffer from dental anxiety. It is simply taken in pill or liquid form and ingested at a set time before treatment. The drug produces a calming effect to make the visit to our office a much less stressful experience. Oral sedation is simple, safe and has very few side effects.
Ask us about our sedation options.
Orthodontics is the art of using special appliances to straighten and align the teeth and bite. Braces are the most common orthodontic treatment. In this method, arch wires are threaded through brackets that are bonded to the surface of the teeth. The arch wires act as a track, and guide each tooth to its proper position. There are several types of orthodontic braces available, including the more traditional metal braces, ceramic "tooth colored" braces, as well as clear plastic braces.
ROOT CANAL TREATMENT
A root canal is a treatment used to repair and save a tooth that is badly decayed or becomes infected. During a root canal procedure, the nerve and pulp is removed and the inside of the tooth is cleaned and sealed. After this treatment, the tooth is not completely restored until a crown is placed on top. This will protect the tooth from breaking.
Sealants are a common preventive treatment in dentistry. Some teeth have fine grooves or pits that accumulate plaque, not because the person doesn't brush, but because the grooves are too narrow to allow even one bristle into them. When plaque accumulates, it can lead to cavities and other types of tooth decay. To apply sealants, a plastic material is brushed onto the tooth, filling these narrow grooves and preventing the cavity-causing buildup. Sealants make healthy teeth possible.
SLEEP APNEA TREATMENT
Problems with sleep can quickly and negatively impact overall well-being. High blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, brain damage, depression, erectile dysfunction, diabetes, weight gain and more—all of these can be caused by sleep apnea and snoring. Solve your sleeping struggles at the dentist's office? It's definitely possible.
Oral sleep appliance therapy can be a very effective treatment option for patients suffering from mild to moderate obstructive sleep apnea. These custom-fit appliances shift the lower jaw forward and open the bite and airway.
Following are some common symptoms of sleep breathing disorders:
- Daytime drowsiness or fatigue
- Loud, recurring snoring
- Choking or gasping for air in your sleep
- A man with neck size greater than 17 inches
- A woman with neck size greater than 16 inches
- Stop breathing while asleep
- Unexplained weight gain/trouble losing weight
- High blood pressure
- Acid reflux
- History of stroke or heart attack
- Fall asleep during the day when activity is low
- Family history of sleep apnea
If you suffer from any of these symptoms, come into our office for a consultation. We will review the severity of your condition and discuss dental sleep treatment. It is always best to have had a sleep study conducted to determine the severity of your problem. However, this may not be necessary in treatment for simple snoring.
TMJ stands for temporal-mandibular joint. Temporal, as in temple area of skull; mandibular as in mandible, or lower jaw; joint as in it's where the head and jaw meet. Problems in this joint may be caused by a misalignment of the teeth, trauma, or excess muscle tension. Aside from the two bones that meet there, cartilage buffers them and five muscles are involved in the area. If something goes wrong a good deal of trouble can result.
Problems in this area can cause:
- Trouble/soreness in opening and closing the mouth
- Clicking or popping of the jaw
- Pain in the jaw muscles
- Soreness in the area, sometimes extending to the face
Dental treatments for the condition can include replacing missing teeth, moving teeth, adjusting the bite, filling gaps between teeth, etc. There is no one solution that is right for all cases. Sometimes a plastic mouthpiece is used to prevent clenching or grinding that is contributing to the problem. If untreated and taken to extremes, surgery may be required to repair a badly damaged joint.
Veneers are a dental procedure in which a covering is placed over the outside (visible area) of the tooth. Veneers are usually only done to the part of the teeth that are visible when talking or smiling. The procedure can be direct or indirect.
The direct technique usually involves placing composite resin on the outside of the tooth using bonding. This method is usually referred to as bonding.
The indirect technique usually involves two appointments because the veneers will be fabricated at a dental laboratory. At the first appointment the teeth are prepared, impressions taken, and the teeth are given a temporary covering. In two to three weeks the veneers are back from the laboratory, the temporaries are removed and the veneers are bonded to the teeth. The laboratory fabricated veneers are usually made using porcelain or pressed ceramic, and are esthetically pleasing. The advantage of veneers versus crowns is that much less tooth material is removed, and the procedure is generally less uncomfortable. Veneers are recommended for teeth that have large fillings or little tooth structure.
Tooth whitening is a popular procedure to make teeth whiter and brighter, and therefore more attractive. Bleaching can be used to whiten stained and discolored teeth, or simply to enhance a dull smile. Either way, tooth whitening is a safe and relatively painless procedure ideal for most patients. Our office offers two methods of whitening: Professional strength whitening strips and tray whitening. We can help you decide which is the best option for your smile.
WISDOM TOOTH EXTRACTIONS
Wisdom teeth are the last molars, or "third molars" that develop on each side of the jaw. They usually emerge in the back of the mouth between the ages of 16-20.
Wisdom teeth are a valuable asset to the mouth when they are healthy and properly positioned. Often, however, they cause problems and require removal. When the jaw isn't large enough to accommodate wisdom teeth, they can become impacted. Impacted wisdom teeth may grow sideways, emerge only part way through the gum or remain trapped beneath the gum and bone.
A wisdom tooth extraction is a relatively routine procedure. The dentist will numb the area in the mouth with a local anesthesia or use IV sedation so that the patient is asleep during the procedure.
After the tooth (or teeth) is removed, the patient is given gauze and bites down softly for a recommended amount of time to limit any bleeding. Some pain and swelling may occur, but it will usually go away after a few days. Please call our office if, after following post-op instructions, you have prolonged or severe pain, swelling, bleeding or fever.
Click the Technologies below for more information on each subject.
AUTOMATED APPOINTMENT REMINDERS
We offer a free automated appointment reminder service through a company called Lighthouse. The service sends out a text or email reminder several days prior to your appointment. This is an opt in/opt out program where you can make appointment changes electronically.
DIGITAL BITEWING X-RAYS
Dr. Heckman’s office uses digital sensors that transmit the x-ray image directly into a computer monitor. This larger image helps the patient understand the doctor's explanations more easily and enables the doctor to "zoom in" on a specific area of the tooth. An important advantage to this new technology is that it reduces the amount of radiation by over 60%. Digital X-rays are also faster. The digital image only takes 20 seconds to appear in the monitor. In addition, this new technology is friendly to the environment since no chemicals are needed for developing the image.
DIGITAL PANORAMIC X-RAYS
The digital panoramic x-ray machine allows for a panoramic view of both the upper and lower jaws and TMJ joints to be obtained and transferred to a computer screen in just seconds. It also allows complete visibility when needing to know the exact location of wisdom teeth. Another great feature is the extra-oral bitewing function. This “outside the mouth” approach makes for a much more comfortable experience for anyone who struggles with traditional x-rays.
ELECTRONIC CLAIM SUBMISSION
Our office utilizes electronic claims processing. This means that rather than sending your dental claim through the mail, it is sent electronically to your insurance company with the click of the button. By filing your claim electronically, information is submitted more efficiently and with fewer errors. This benefits our patients because the turn around time on claims is faster and fewer claims are returned or denied. We are happy to submit your dental claims to your insurance company on your behalf.
We use small high resolution cameras about the size of a pen, called intraoral cameras, to help clearly see the condition of your teeth and gums.
With this advanced technology we can zoom in on small diseased areas, cracks, chips and worn metal fillings with extreme precision. The full-color images taken with the intraoral camera are sent to a computer screen so we can clearly see and diagnose dental problems much earlier than with traditional dental technology. Because images are displayed on our screens, patients will also be able to see areas being worked on and are able to gain a better understanding of dental procedures being performed.
PATIENT EDUCATION SOFTWARE
You deserve to be in the loop when it comes to your dental care. There are a variety of computer programs available to help patients better understand conditions, procedures and treatment options. Our office invests in patient education software because we want you to feel confident in every dental decision you make. This investment helps us clearly communicate--and it helps you learn more.
Popular programs include GURU and DentalMaster, among many others. If you have any questions about the program we use, we're happy to point you to the website. If you have any further questions about your oral health and procedures, don't hesitate to ask us.
Dr. Heckman performs all dental procedures while wearing a pair of funny looking glasses called surgical telescopes. These powerful glasses have magnifiers on them, allowing her to see fine details that would go unnoticed to the naked eye.